GCodePrintr – 3D Print and charge

About 3D printing, CNC, Mountainbiking and new technologies

GCodePrintr – 3D Print and charge

When using GCodePrintr to control your 3D printer, you might be well aware of the limitation of most Android devices: It is not possible to charging the device through USB while the USB port is in use for printing

This is very bad when you plan to use your phone with GCodePrintr to run a >10h print. Unfortunately this can’t be fixed from inside the App, it is a limitation of the hardware as well as the Android OS (Kernel).

The good news is that there are multiple ways to work around this limitation:

Use devices with dedicated DC port

Some Android tablets and phone have dedicated DC ports for charging. This works even when the USB port is used for printing. When you are looking for a tablet/phone extra for running GCodePrintr you can find cheat tablets for ~60€ with dedicated DC port.
Many people run Octoprint which requires similar investment to get started (Raspiberry pi + camera and separate display/touchscreen if desired)

Here is are a few Android tablet models with DC port which should work fine:

  • XGODY Android 9.0 7″ (Ebay 60€)
  • Denver TAC70051 (Amazon 59€)
  • Simbans TangoTab 10
  • Odys Mira 7″
  • Teclast TPAD 10″

Use devices with QI wireless charging

Newer phones and tablets sometimes have Qi wireless charging support. With a Qi charger (which costs only a few €) you can charge your device during print. Many Samsung Galaxy phones have Qi charging support builtin.
Amazon supports Qi charging in his FireHD+ devices.

Connect to your printer through Bluetooth or Wifi

If your printer supports Bluetooth or Wifi, GcodePrintr can use the wireless connection to control the printer. This will free up the USB port for charging. Many printers can be upgraded with Bluetooth by simple connecting a HC-06 module to the printer electronics.

For Wifi connectivity ESP8266 or DT-06 boards can be used to build a custom solution.

There are also some Wifi 3D print servers on the market (e.g. Creality Wifi Box)

For tech-savy people only: replace device battery with permanent DC power

If you are tech-savy and knowledged about electronics, you could replace the battery of your phone/device with permanent DC power. There are several sites who decribe how this can be done (depends on your device) .
Warning: Please only do this if you know what you are doing. There is a risk of bricking you device or even of fire.

e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHnDzfp2mWA

Powered USB Hub / Y-Cable

Some rare devices will charge while OTG is in use, when using a Y-cable or a powered USB hub. But this does not work for the majority of devices. Some users reported that a kernel patch would enable charging, but I don’t have any details

What else ?

If all of the above is not an option for you, then you can still do prints as long as your battery holds. GCodeprintr will also print out a battery warning if you are below 10% (with push notification if configured) and you can always pause a print and resume later.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *